A recent strategic visit to India by senior IMA? (Institute of Management Accountants) staff served to illuminate the enormous opportunities in that region and the progress IMA has made in extending the reach of the CMA? (Certified Management Accountant) certification.

Ella Suponitskiy before her presentation on integrated reportingJim Piechowski, CAE, IMA director of international operations and business development; and Ella Suponitskiy, CMA, CAE, IMA director of exam operations and grading, made the 10-day trip to India in December. The primary purpose? ?Our goals were to help spread knowledge about the management accounting profession and to build awareness of the opportunities afforded by IMA membership and our CMA certification to accounting and finance professionals working inside organizations or preparing for a career in the industry,? explained Piechowski. ?As local economies grow, so, too, does the demand for highly qualified management accountants.?

The opportunities for IMA in India are substantial, considering that the country has the second-largest population in the world and, equally important, the fact that 65% of its 1.3 billion population is under age 35. Combine that with the reality that business in India is conducted primarily in English and the country?s GDP is expected to soon outpace China, the demand and interest for a U.S.-based professional certification such as the CMA is strong.

To capitalize on these opportunities, Piechowski and Suponitskiy spent their visit focused on building and renewing relationships with IMA members, educational institutions, corporations, review course providers, and other strategic partners. They went to eight cities: Delhi, Jaipur, Chennai, Chandigarh, Pune, Kochi, Sonipat, and Bangalore.

With assistance from review-course contacts at J. Wiley and Sons, Miles Professional Education, and Logic School of Management, the team met with 13 well-respected educational institutions, including Christ University and Jain University, both in Bangalore. At Jain, the team signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will enable the university to incorporate the content of the CMA exam into their curriculum. The team also met with representatives from Banasthali University, in Jaipur, where they signed a MOU for the university to become an IMA-approved CMA exam training partner.

The team also had the opportunity to visit students at the Logic School of Management and congratulate those who had recently passed the CMA exam. In addition, on the corporate side, the team met with several multinational corporations, including Hewlett-Packard and Ford Motor Company, as well as with representatives from Big Four accounting firm KPMG.

The trip also included three public conferences, where Suponitskiy spoke on the topic of Integrated Reporting. ?Integrated Reporting is a very popular topic right now, and our speaking at these conferences helped to affirm IMA?s thought leadership on this subject,? Suponitskiy said. The team was also able to speak about the numerous benefits of joining IMA and earning the CMA certification.

Interest in CMA certification is likely to continue. According to Piechowski, ?There?s a high premium placed on education in Indian culture, and our certification is an especially attractive alternative as it is U.S.-based, rigorous, and completed by passing two exam parts. IMA strongly believes in delivering the best in localized programs and services, and an increasing number of professionals in India ? particularly those seeking to work in multinationals or abroad ? are recognizing that being a CMA can lead to better jobs, higher salaries, and more opportunities for advancement.?

To follow up on these meetings, last month Raef Lawson, Ph.D., CMA, CPA, CFA, IMA vice president of research and policy, also visited the region. In Delhi, he met with the Vice Chancellor and faculty of Manav Rachna University and discussed IMA and the CMA program. He also made a presentation at a joint event with OP Jindal University. Following this, he traveled to Bangalore where he was a keynote speaker at a conference hosted by Christ University, spoke with faculty and students at that school, and made a presentation to IMA?s Bangalore chapter titled, ?Challenges and Opportunities for Management Accountants.?

To learn more about the CMA, please visit www.imanet.org/certification.